Mayor Eddie A. Perez called out the city council Wednesday for rejecting a proposal to change the council's composition, calling the vote Tuesday night "outrageous" and the council's process "bizarre."
"This is the one issue that remained outstanding from the previous charter revisions and once again, the Council denied the voters the chance to vote on this reform," Perez said. Then, the mayor gave the council a little bit of its own medicine.
"Last night's little publicized special meeting on Charter Reform is another example of the lack of transparency surrounding the Council's actions on important decisions affecting our city," Perez said.
Read the press release below.
MAYOR DISAPPOINTED BY COUNCIL
DENYING RESIDENTS ABILITY TO VOTE ON REFORM
(July 22, 2009)--- Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez expressed his disappointment today by the vote last night by members of the Hartford City Council to block residents from having the opportunity to vote on a key reform proposed by the City Charter Revision Commission. In a hastily called special meeting with 1/3 of the Council members absent, the Council voted to block city voters from having the opportunity to decide on whether or not some members of the City Council should be elected by district this fall. This capped a bizarre process by the City Council where Council failed to hold the formal public hearing required by state law and the public was told as recently as last Monday that all recommendations were going back to the Charter Revision Commission for review and public comment. Instead, with little fanfare, three members of Council called for a special meeting that was held last night where the Council declined to even put the issue of district elections before the voters.
"It is outrageous that the Council voted to prevent the voters from deciding if the Council should be reformed to include members elected by neighborhood district. This is the one issue that remained outstanding from the previous charter revisions and once again, the Council denied the voters the chance to vote on this reform. Further, by failing to hold the mandated public hearing and ignoring the process the Council has followed in all recent charter revisions, the Council slammed the door shut on an inclusive public process," said Mayor Perez.
He added, "I want to thank the Chair of the Charter Revision Commission Richard Waering and the members of the commission who worked hard to put the recommendations together. We are lucky to have volunteers willing to serve our city in these important roles."
Mayor Perez also stated, "Last night's little publicized special meeting on Charter Reform is another example of the lack of transparency surrounding the Council's actions on important decisions affecting our city. Last Monday, without prior notice, the Council gave away $377,000 in taxpayer money to organizations and groups without a public hearing, application or public process of any kind. I urge the Council to reform how they make these important decisions so that the residents of Hartford can have confidence that the Council is acting in the best interests of the City."